Since Tuesday’s debate between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, there has been a lot of talk about the performance debate moderator Candy Crowley, who, as a noted yesterday, went far beyond her role to become a “fact-checker.”
During the debate, President Obama was asked a pretty clear cut question about the security failures that led up to the terrorist attack in Libya. The questioner, Kerry Ladka, told Obama that he and friends at work “were sitting around talking about Libya, and we were reading and became aware of reports that the State Department refused extra security for our embassy in Benghazi, Libya, prior to the attacks that killed four Americans.”
“Who was it that denied enhanced security and why?” Ladka asked Obama.
Obama gave a long-winded answer where he talked about his appreciate for United States diplomats. He then noted that he gave instructions in the wake of the attack to “beef up security,” investigate the incident, and to “find out who did this.” Obama criticized Romney for allegedly politicizing the attack and defend his out foreign policy record.
Obama eventually said, “[W]hen it comes to this issue, when I say that we are going to find out exactly what happened, everybody will be held accountable, and I am ultimately responsible for what’s taking place there, because these are my folks, and I’m the one who has to greet those coffins when they come home”
You can read the entire answer in the transcript, but no where in his response did he actually, you know, answer the question. The question wasn’t about what Obama was going to do or about foreign policy initiatives. It was very direct — “Who was it that denied enhanced security [to the consulate in Benghazi] and why?”
While the vice presidential debate offered something everyone could point to as evidence that their side scored political points, I think the overall result can be encapsulated by a single sentence uttered by my eighteen-year old daughter Naomi about halfway through the debate, when she said “Daddy, Joe Biden really creeps me out.” It seems she wasn’t the only one. Afterwards, one of the main topics of discussion from the punditry was Biden’s creepy grins and inappropriate laughter. It was like watching The Joker from the Batman movie (the one played by Jack Nicholson), only without The Joker’s likeability or charm. That was on top of the constant interruptions, the bold face lies, and the general obnoxiousness of Biden, a man just a heartbeat away, as they say, from the presidency. It was really almost pathetic to watch, like watching a respectful young man patiently endure the idiocy and bellicosity of his weird uncle who gets angrier the drunker he gets.
Stylistically, it was fairly evenly matched. Biden was the more assertive candidate, and dominated the debate on the “visuals”, but on those occasions where Ryan was allowed to speak without being interrupted by Biden or having the moderator cut him off and change the subject, Ryan proved himself as the clear victor based on mastery of the facts and policy. Biden was far outclassed in this area, limited to recycling discredited talking points, regurgitating class warfare arguments, and gazing into the camera at the American people and offering up his version of that old Groucho Marx line “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?” Creepy, indeed.
Political junkies have long known that the relationship between the White House and Sec of State Hillary Clinton is far from great. I am actually surprised she’s held on this long— considering the vicious exchanges they both had (along with Bill) during the 2008 campaign.
Maybe all is forgiven in politics? Not really. Last year, the Hillary-Obama relationship reached a boiling point over the invasion of Libya. The Sec of State— who was pushing for military action— was not pleased with Obama’s lack of resolution on the issue:
Obviously, she’s not happy with dealing with a president who can’t decide if today is Tuesday or Wednesday, who can’t make his mind up…She’s exhausted, tired.
Fast forward to the Benghazi embassy attacks— where Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed— and we can again see the tension boiling.
On Wednesday night, Americans were treated to the first of three presidential debates, focusing primarily on the economy. For many Americans, this was their first opportunity to see an unbiased, objective view of Governor Mitt Romney, one untainted by the press, which has discarded all pretense of journalistic integrity and instead rabid Obamamaniacs (some of this is subtle, like the stories the media choose to cover and how they cover them, and others are more blatant, as when MSNBC was busted recently editing video to make it appear Romney was pleading with a crowd to cheer for him, in order to make him look weak and pathetic). For Obama, having the media on your team is like being an NFL team where the referees make all the calls in your favor.
To date, Governor Romney has failed to take advantage of a plethora of evidence supporting the argument against the re-election of the president; high and sustained unemployment, slowing GDP growth, chaos in the Middle East as his foreign policy goes up in flames. Likewise, Romney has largely failed to make the case for his own election by touting his success in private enterprise, as a governor, and as a humanitarian. His failure to do so has been inexplicable. However, on Wednesday he went on the attack from the first moment, respectfully but firmly challenging the Obama narrative that the pliant media has dutifully parroted. The effect was noticeable, with Obama rarely looking at Romney, often smirking and sighing, and just looking irritated that anyone would challenge his greatness.
Last week in the presidential debates, Mitt Romney indicated he’d cut funding to PBS. Here’s Romney’s quote from the debate:
I’m sorry, Jim, I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually like you, too. But I’m not going to—I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for. That’s number one.
Sure, Democrats are all bent out of shape on this. First, they don’t like cutting funding for anyone, anywhere, ever; but how could the Republicans be so cruel, so insane, that they’d want to drop funding for PBS?
The hatred has been spewed. People are saying that Romney wants to roast Big Bird and that the Republicans’ solution to spending is to cut educational programs. That’s a little bit of an extreme reaction.
Should we cut funding to PBS? Oh yes. Most definitely. The federal government shouldn’t be in the business of funding television stations. That’s well beyond the legitimate roles of government.
But what about Big Bird and his friends? Do we just let Big Bird die?
It’s important to remember that not all funding of PBS is federal money. According to Forbes, federal funding for public broadcasting was just 12% of its budget in 2010. The other 88% come from private grants and donations.
While a 12% cut in revenue would be tough, PBS would survive. It wouldn’t be easy, but that’s not exactly killing Big Bird.
It’s been a while since we’ve looked at the Electoral College, which is what really matters in the race between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Many Republicans keep pointing to national polls showing Romney either gaining on or leading Obama. This may be an important sign, but it’s very important to remember that the popular vote means nothing when looking at the presidential race.
Romney’s strong debate performance on Wednesday has given a boost to his mistake-ridden campaign, but as of now, the presidential race really boils down to four states — Colorado, Florida, Ohio, and Virginia — representing 69 electoral votes.
According to Real Clear Politics averages, Romney is tied with Obama in Colorado and Florida and less that 1-point down in Virginia. However, Romney still trails by 3 points in Ohio. Say what you want about other swing states, but Romney has to run the table in the four states to win next month.
On the right it is considered an axiom that the “mainstream media” is incredibly biased towards the left. Now, this is not a charge without merit - I think it’s hard to deny that most media comes from major cities that tend to lean liberal. But whether or not the media favors the left or the right, both sides know one thing for certain — their candidates will be covered extensively. Every word from Romney or Obama will make the news in some format.
But for anyone outside the two major parties, it is rare to even be mentioned, except in passing as a potential “spoiler” for one candidate or the other in a swing state. To the average voter, then, there are only two people running. One cannot be surprised then that the vast majority of Americans have never heard of third party candidates. They are presented a world where there are only two choices, as if the vast spectrum of political thought can only come in two colors, red and blue.
Take this quiz on USA Today for a perfect example. Immediately upon opening the quiz, you are shown a graphic that is half Obama and half Romney. Every option moves the bar one way or the other. For me, the first couple questions were about the economy and moved it to Romney. But then came questions about gay marriage, the War in Afghanistan, and cutting military spending, which knocked it to the blue side. In the end, my score came out 55%. Were the world truly consigned to two poles, then, I would have to vote Democrat.
I’ve shocked myself by feeling this way, but Mitt Romney has finally impressed me. As a Massachusetts native (and adopted Texan, thank God) I’ve been waiting a long time for my former Governor to fire me up. And I’ll admit – his debate performance Wednesday night actually got me excited. Romney looked presidential. Obama looked weak. Romney sounded authoritative, utilizing real facts, figures, and studies. Obama wavered and told irrelevant sob stories as a means to distract from reality. Anyone who watched could tell objectively, that Romney absolutely destroyed Obama. After all, the CNN poll wherein only 25% of viewers voted Obama the winner says it all.
While I was highly encouraged by Romney’s performance when it came to domestic and economic issues, I’m skeptical that this honeymoon will last. I say this due to the fact that there is an upcoming foreign policy debate – and the way Romney has framed many aspects of this issue (particularly during his Republican National Convention speech) has made me cringe. Romney has unfortunately, made a habit of engaging in what Congressman Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) has brilliantly termed Military Keynesianism.
President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney squared off last night in Denver for the first of three debates before next month’s election — this debate primarily focusing on domestic policy. By most accounts I’ve read, Romney did really well, while President Obama struggled (I missed the debate because I was flying back to Atlanta from Washington, DC). The Washington Post has a good overview of the first debate, highlighting the contrast between Obama and Romney:
Romney came into the 90-minute exchange after several difficult weeks but appeared rejuvenated by the opportunity to take his case directly to Obama and the American people. He was well prepared and aggressive as he hammered the president. The contrast with Obama was striking, as the president appeared less energetic even as he rebutted some of Romney’s toughest attacks.
The debate is likely to give Romney what he needed most, which is a fresh look from voters — at least those who are undecided or open to changing their minds — and will change the conversation about the campaign, which for the past two weeks has been tilted in the president’s favor. Romney now faces the challenge of trying to build on his performance and keep the president on the defensive in the days ahead.
To watch media coverage of the presidential race is to witness a perversion of the truth not seen since the days of the old Soviet newspaper, Pravda. Carefully avoiding any focus on the myriad failures of the Obama administration, the media instead paints a caricature of Republican Mitt Romney no less dishonest than the praise of Obama. Indeed, to hear the media tell it, Mitt Romney was not born, but is the product of a genetic experiment gone awry in Dr. Frankenstein’s lab, splicing the genes of Adolf Hitler, J.P. Morgan, and Ebenezer Scrooge.
Only willful and contemptible calumny would ever portray this good and decent man as such a vile human being. Stories of Romney’s personal charitable and humanitarian deeds have been blacked out by the media, and Romney, for some reason so inexplicable to supporters, refuses to tell these stories himself.
For example, how much have we heard of Melissa Gay? Melissa, the 14-year old daughter of a Bain partner, snuck out one night and boarded a train for New York, met up with two men and went to a rave party in the Bronx, where she took multiple doses of the drug Ecstasy. As days passed without police finding her, Robert Gay told Romney of his crisis. Within hours, Bain was shut down and the employees headed to New York on a manhunt for little Melissa Gay. Though Romney never took credit, Robert Gay later told reporters Romney was the only one he confided in, and it was Romney who organized and funded the search for, and the successful return of, his daughter, admitting that without Romney he’d likely have never seen his daughter again.